The Power of AI in Sales & 7 Ways You Can Use It in 2024

Download Now: 2024 Sales Trends Report
Jay Fuchs
Jay Fuchs

Published:

You‘ve probably heard some variant of this sentence a million times by now, but I’m going to go ahead and say it anyway: Artificial intelligence is changing sales. It‘s a trend that’s equal parts exciting and alarming — raising the potential for both increased efficiency and massive job displacement.

salesperson leveraging ai for sales and marketing

Regardless of whether you feel AI is good for sales, your role, or humanity at large, the fact remains: It's only getting more sophisticated and ubiquitous as time goes on.

So it serves you — whether you‘re a sales rep or leader — to understand how to leverage artificial intelligence in sales. That’s why we‘ve compiled this handy guide to help you out on that front. Let’s dive in.

Download Now: 2024 Sales Trends Report [New Data]

Table of Contents

I‘ll preface this whole piece by saying that I’m extremely wary of AI.

Ever since the first time it had the audacity to autocorrect one of my texts, I‘ve been convinced that it’s going to lead to mass professional displacement and/or humanity‘s downfall — but until those things happen, I’ll try to be objective about its benefits and pitfalls.

Frankly, it has plenty of both for salespeople. Let's take a look at some of them.

AI is further empowering buyers.

We‘ve been living in the era of the empowered buyer for quite some time now. Prospects are as well-informed, confident, and independent as they’ve ever been — and AI is only expediting that trend.

Self-service resources for product research (most notably search engines) are already a staple of the modern buyer's journey — but generative AI is becoming an increasingly prominent resource, shaping how consumers understand the products and services they invest in.

As you've probably noticed, Google is in the process of augmenting its search results with generative AI, and HubSpot's State of Consumer Trends Report found that leveraging AI chatbots for consumer queries is becoming more popular with younger generations.

13% of Gen Z respondents cited it as their preferred method for finding answers to their questions online, compared to just 2% of Boomers.

As AI‘s popularity as a resource for product research grows, it could potentially undermine the salesperson’s traditional position as the more informed, consultative guide in a sales engagement.

As a salesperson, that shift could be helpful or frustrating, depending on how that research casts your offering. On one hand, a prospect's AI-powered research might frame your product or service in a positive light — immediately establishing it as a good fit for a prospect and offering you an inherent leg up.

On the other hand, AI's take on whether your offering suits your prospect might be less than flattering, forcing you to sell from a more compromised, challenging position.

Salespeople are concerned about job displacement.

Beyond empowering buyers, AI's emergence has some wide-reaching implications in sales — some of which can be unnerving. I touched on this at the beginning of this section (a bit tongue-in-cheekily), but AI has led to some real concerns about job displacement in the field.

That trend isn't exactly specific to sales, but it still has a lot of sales professionals particularly worried. Our 2023 State of AI in Sales survey found that 42% of sales professionals are concerned about AI replacing their jobs in the next few years, compared to 42% who aren't.

AI can free up salespeople to sell more effectively.

But even with job displacement fears looming, several salespeople still see AI as an invaluable resource in the modern sales landscape — one that supports their professional responsibilities as opposed to undermining them.

That same survey found that 78% of sales professionals believe AI can help them spend more time on the most critical aspects of their role, and 74% agree that AI can help them spend more time on the parts of the job they enjoy most.

There‘s a growing need for salespeople to understand and adopt AI-related resources — let’s take a closer look at the “why” behind it.

The Need for Artificial Intelligence in Sales

Regardless of how you might feel about AI, the fact remains: AI is not going to un-invent itself. It‘s already a staple of several fields — especially sales — and it’s only going to get more sophisticated and ubiquitous as time goes on.

Adopting AI-powered resources has transitioned from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have in sales. Our 2023 State of AI in Sales survey found that 68% of sales professionals predicted that most of the software they use will have built-in AI capabilities by 2024.

Again, I‘m extremely wary of AI. I held out on leveraging it in my professional life for as long as I could, but I caved — not because I wanted to, but because I came to understand that my position wasn’t practical. And a lot of salespeople are hitting that point as well.

AI is here to stay, and refusing to adopt it means you run the risk of being left behind. It serves everyone from BDRs to CSOs to start taking AI seriously and learning to leverage it — both individually and organizationally.

The “need for artificial intelligence” in sales boils down to this: not letting stubbornness interfere with organizational efficiency and effectiveness. There's no real reason to avoid embracing AI in sales.

It‘s here. It’s not going anywhere, and acting like it's going to undermines your ability to be as productive as possible in the modern sales landscape.

The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence and Automation in Sales

Despite the whole “potentially displacing the human workforce and destroying the world” thing, AI does actually offer some very real benefits in sales — and salespeople generally recognize those. Here are some conclusions we drew from our 2023 State of AI in Sales survey and the figures to support them:

    • AI can help automate tedious tasks to free salespeople up to sell.
      • Sales professionals save two hours and 15 minutes a day using AI to automate manual tasks.
      • 78% of salespeople say that AI can help them spend more time on the most critical aspects of their role.
      • 74% of sales professionals agree that AI can help them spend more time on the parts of the job they enjoy most.
    • AI can support more thoughtful customer insight.
      • 73% of sales professionals agree that AI can help them pull insights from data they otherwise wouldn't be able to find.
      • 65% of sales professionals say AI will help them understand their customers better.
  • AI can enhance personalization in sales.
    • 69% of sales professionals strongly or somewhat agree that AI can help them personalize the customer experience.
    • 61% of sales professionals also agree that AI can make prospecting more personalized.

Obviously, that list of benefits isn't exhaustive, but you get the idea. AI expedites aspects of sales that many salespeople often find tedious or challenging. It helps structure better-informed, more streamlined sales efforts — even if its presence presents some reasonable, serious concerns. 

One example is ColdIQ, a B2B agency that uses AI to optimize their sales prospecting campaigns. Their sales team uses AI automation to engage with website visitors and profile viewers, personalize email outreach at scale, execute multichannel sequences, and more. Leveraging AI in their strategy has enabled ColdIQ to grow from $0 to $2 million in annual revenue in just 19 months.

7 Ways Your Team Can Use AI in Sales

Artificial intelligence in sales can be leveraged in many different ways. However, here are five applications that can transform your sales process.

1. Access to advanced data enrichment, analysis, and applications.

Sound data enrichment — the process of pulling data into an organization's database (typically a CRM) from third-party sources — is transitioning from an asset to a necessity for sales orgs. It allows you to create a more holistic, comprehensive, and accurate understanding of your prospects, leads, customers, and processes.

Many resources that support the process are AI-powered. For instance, HubSpot offers a predictive scoring tool that uses artificial intelligence to identify high-quality leads, based on predefined criteria.

Image Source

Another interesting application of AI in data enrichment is Zoho’s DataPrep solution which analyzes and transforms data into new “types.”

Image Source

Zoho uses AI to extract “meaning” from existing information in a CRM and uses its findings to create new data points, such as lead sentiments and topics of interest. These “new” data points can then be leveraged across several use cases. That includes lead scoring, lead prioritization, and outreach personalization.

2. Enhance performance with AI-powered conversation intelligence.

Most sophisticated conversation intelligence software leverage some form of artificial intelligence to analyze sales calls and pull key insights.

A great example of one of these tools is Hubspot’s conversation intelligence solution. This platform uses AI to “uncover the why behind sales performance.”

Image Source

The program identifies key insights, such as trends and objections. This data can then be used to easily pinpoint areas of weakness or underperformance.

Another example of an AI-powered conversation intelligence tool is Chorus. This platform leverages artificial intelligence to recognize the context within a conversation, identify key moments within sales calls, and even note competitor mentions.

Image Source

3. Improve pipeline management and forecasting.

Although most sales reps follow best practices and periodically run sales forecasts, recent data has found that the majority of sales reps inaccurately forecast their pipeline. However, leveraging artificial intelligence allows you to significantly reduce the probability of inaccuracies in your sales team.

Consider Aviso, an AI-driven forecasting solution, to understand how this works.

Image Source

Aviso uses AI to analyze data and produce insights into deals and the overall pipeline. Some of these AI applications include:

  • WinScore Insights. This is a score that represents the likelihood of successfully closing a deal
  • AI-powered forecasts. This can be used to predict the total number of new deals, renewals, and churn within a fixed period.
  • Scenario forecasting. These dynamic forecasts take “what if” scenarios into account.
  • AI-powered suggestions. These insights account for historical and current performance.

These AI-powered features can be the key differentiator in how well a sales team can build forecasts, draw insights from these forecasts, and make decisions.

4. Streamline and optimize sales engagement.

Sales engagement consists of all buyer-seller interactions within the sales process — from initial outreach to customer onboarding. There are two ways AI can help you leverage data and insights to streamline this process.

First, AI can help you understand customer needs and pain points.

The top use case for AI in sales is to help representatives understand customer needs, according to Salesforce’s State of Sales report. Your knowledge of a customer’s needs informs every decision you make in customer interactions — from your pitch to your sales content and overall outreach approach.

Second, AI aids in personalizing and automating customer interactions.

A great example of a sales engagement solution that helps you do this is Apollo. You can leverage AI on this platform to:

  • Set up automated outreach messages using pre-defined customization fields.
  • Optimize the performance of your outreach by running A/B tests.
  • Access AI insights on your outreach campaigns, such as a prospect or lead’s interest level.
  • Leverage the “rules engine” to update pre-determined sequences or outreach campaigns once certain criteria are met.

5. Personalizing Pitches

Generative AI has become extremely (or unsettlingly) sophisticated and every iteration of it is the worst it will ever be. While that might not be the best news for humanity, it can bode well for salespeople — especially when it comes to personalization in pitches.

As Gregory Rozdeba, CEO of Dundas Life, puts it, "In the forefront of insurtech, leveraging generative AI creatively has been pivotal. We use AI to personalize sales pitches and proposals, making every interaction with prospects feel tailor-made.

“By analyzing data on customer preferences and behaviors, AI helps us predict needs, enabling preemptive solution offering. This not only increases engagement but also positions us as attentive and proactive. Moreover, AI-driven insights into market trends ensure our strategies remain agile, keeping us ahead in a competitive landscape.”

6. Personalizing Email Outreach

Generative AI's ability to support personalization extends beyond personalizing pitches — it can also assist with email outreach.

Pat Schirripa, CEO of People 2U, says, "Forget robots taking sales rep jobs! Generative AI is a game-changer for our team. We use it to craft personalized email outreach that grabs attention. AI analyzes customer data and suggests email content tailored to each lead's needs.

“It saves reps tons of time with personalized messages, making them more likely to resonate. It's like having a super-powered research assistant for each salesperson, freeing them up to focus on building relationships and closing deals.”

7. Refining Sales Scripts

Sales teams can also leverage generative AI as a resource for creating and iterating upon more thoughtful, effective sales scripts.

Marco Genaro Palma, Freelance CMO and SEO Consultant at GenaroPalma.com, says, "One creative method I've found really helpful for boosting our sales effectiveness involves starting with a basic sales script and then letting generative AI tools tweak and improve it as we go.

“This means that, based on the feedback we're getting in real-time and how well different approaches are working, the AI can make changes to ensure our sales pitches stay sharp and engaging. Despite the advancements in technology, the personal touch in sales is still key, but these AI-enhanced scripts help us keep our approach fresh and effective.”

3 Popular AI Sales Tools

If any of these use cases resonate with your sales team, it’s time to start looking for the right AI solution. Here are a few acclaimed AI Sales tools your organization can leverage.

1. HubSpot Sales Hub


Hubspot’s Sales Hub is a robust customer relationship management (CRM) tool for salespeople and sales teams. This platform offers a comprehensive solution. From forecasting to prospecting and even scheduling meetings, you’ll find ways to improve your workflow.

Sales Hub also leverages artificial intelligence to gather data from your prospects and customers. Key features include:

  • Data capture through the mobile business card scanner. This uses machine learning to pull contact data directly into your CRM from a business card.
  • Data enrichment. AI automatically populates your CMS by pulling contact properties from email conversations with prospects, leads, or customers. This data could be phone numbers, geographical locations, job titles, and more.

Pricing: These features are only available in premium editions of the Sales Hub and Service Hub. Both start at $500 a month or $5,400 a year.

What Users Say

“HubSpot Sales Hub helped me build a strong pipeline and is now helping our business a lot as we're able to turn those leads into customers. Kudos and well done, team! I highly recommend HubSpot Sales Hub for businesses out there,” Gladys B. for G2.

2. Clari

Image Source

Clari helps users perform three core functions - forecasting, pipeline management, and revenue intelligence. For sales teams specifically, the platform pulls data from multiple sources to help salespeople build real-time, accurate pipelines and set sales goals.

Here are some ways the platform leverages artificial intelligence:

  • AI-driven predictive forecasts. This allows users to leverage AI to accurately project monthly or quarterly sales performance. This data is especially important for determining EOQs (economic order quantity) and resource management.
  • Pipeline insights. These allow users to determine overall pipeline health, identify pipeline risks, and effectively prioritize deals within the pipeline.
  • Intelligent data updates. Clari can also automatically enrich CRM contacts by pulling and attributing data from customer interactions across multiple touchpoints and channels.

Pricing: The price for your team is available upon request.

What Users Say

“Within my organization, Clari is being used to forecast sales and get an idea of what opportunities are coming up and how quickly they could be closed. It is a powerful analytical tool and an indispensable resource for our team today,” Kevin M. for G2.

3. RocketDocs

Image Source

Rocketdocs is a platform that initially started as a sales proposal software but later evolved into a response management and sales enablement solution.

Here are some ways this platform leverages artificial intelligence to improve the sales process:

  • AI-powered “autofill”. This feature identifies questions in an RFP, surfaces “answer matches” from your content library, and automatically populates these fields.
  • Response automation. This feature allows you to fully automate recurring security and due diligence questionnaires
  • Proposal creation. “Rapiddocs” allows you to leverage templates and questionnaires to pull relevant data from your content database and build custom sales documents.

Pricing: The price for your team is available upon request.

What Users Say

“RocketDocs improves and enhances the RFP Workflow using RST (Smart Response Technology) and offers us customizable workflows that can modify the process. Real-time tracking is another advanced feature that allows us to keep a complete track record of operations. It is a cost-effective solution for our organization that helped speed and improve the sales process,” Aniket S. for G2.

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence Based on Your Sales Needs

There‘s no single, one-size-fits-all way to leverage artificial intelligence that will work for every sales org by default. Sales processes vary, so it’s only fitting that the AI tools and tactics different teams use would vary as well.

With that said, if you’d like to become more deliberate about incorporating AI into your sales process, figuring out which aspects of your process can be simplified or optimized is a good place to start.

From there, it's about identifying the tools that suit your unique needs.

New call-to-action

Related Articles

Find data and insights across B2B and B2C sales to power your 2024 sales strategy.

    Powerful and easy-to-use sales software that drives productivity, enables customer connection, and supports growing sales orgs

    START FREE OR GET A DEMO